There was even one Sunday we all wore matching dresses Mom had sewed. Dear God, if a picture existed of us all walking into church that day....I would pay a million dollars to see it now.
Most days we resisted. Didn't matter.
Most days we fought on the way. Didn't matter.
Most Sundays we talked, giggled, and poked each other through the entire service...it got so bad that Mom actually resorted to giving us a grade on church behavior. Mine was usually a C...perhaps a few D's. OK...so maybe there was an F. Molly was always an A, unless I pulled her into something. Kelly was little and got away with murder. (hey it's my blog so I'm calling it as I see it)
Mom was going to bring us to church, teach us about God, and ensure that we got our baptisms, communions, confessions, CCD classes, confirmations...so we would have a foundation of faith.
If sports or work schedules prevented us from attending Sunday service...we would go on Saturday night...when there were GUITARS. DRUMS. A TAMBOURINE FOR GOD'S SAKE. People on microphones saying things like "praise God" and "Hallelujah"...a sharp contrast to Sunday's calm, controlled, stand-up-sit-down-kneel-down-peace-be-with-you-and-also-with-you-repeat-after-the-priest-Hail-Mary-Our-Father-sit-down-stand-up-kneel-for-a-long-time-during-communion Catholic rituals.
My childhood is filled with memories of the place...the dark mahogany wood...soft spongy cushions....the candles...stained glass pictures with rainbows of light streaming in everywhere...the choir...priests who sang a capella and it kind of embarrassed me...scents of wood varnish, old and well-worn books, perfume, incense...writing notes to my sisters...the robes...feeling a mixture of reverence and intimidation for the priests...examining the neck of the person in front of me...frantically turning pages in choir hymnals in search of the correct number before the song starts...feeling proud that I knew exactly what to answer the priest when he asked....shaking hands with strangers and wishing them "peace"....receiving communion and trying to remember which hand to lay on top...looking at the huge sculpture of Jesus on that big cross....bowing my head...saying my prayers, and hoping that I was "doing it right".
Sometimes I still do. :)
Looking back, I am amazed...in awe....and proud of my Mom for believing in something so strongly for her children that she did it all herself. Pushed through our constant resistance and gave it to us anyway. I couldn't have been easy.
Thank you, Mom. (misty eyes)
Fast forward to eighteen years old...
I wish I could say I went to church after I left home for college.
I didn't. Not once.
I wish I could say I went to church when we first got married.
I didn't. Except on Christmas and Easter.
I wish I could say I took my kids to church with the same consistent passion and conviction as my Mom did for me.
I didn't. I let other things get in the way. Attended sporadically. Sent them to Sunday school sometimes. But we didn't feel like it was enough. They weren't getting a complete picture of worship, the idea of coming together with people from all walks of life, sharing their faith in God...only spotty exposures.
But whenever we did go to church, I always felt SO GOOD...renewed....refreshed...and we would say, "we need to go more...why don't we go more? Let's go more...OK? OK."
Rewind to three weeks ago...we signed Jordan up for confirmation classes...a year long commitment in which the family commits just as much as the student. We are asked to attend the mid-morning service, with Jordan's class to follow for an hour afterwards.
I have to admit it seemed daunting to make this kind of jump...it was going to a change...no more sleeping in...no more lazy Sundays with coffee and the paper...no more morning bike rides to the gym, with a casual brunch afterwards...no more just sitting around in PJ's all day, waiting for the afternoon nap to kick in, HA.
It meant getting everyone showered, dressed up, and out the door early on a Sunday morning...every Sunday...whether they liked it or not.
Just like Mom did for me.
And when I think of it like that...the decision was already made. :)
What I wasn't expecting...
was how much we all LOVE IT.
The service is filled with music.
An incredible singer with a voice and charisma fit for American Idol.
Words on a big screen so we can all sing along.
As I look around the church, I feel emotional...the band plays...the singer sings.....the drums pump a steady beat, filling every crevice of the huge, stained glass covered building with the most beautiful words and music... there are kids dancing...elderly people smiling, eyes closed...couples holding hands...toddlers clapping and bouncing on Daddy's hip...my own children singing along...Katie spontaneously wrapping her arms around my waist, as I kiss her head and smell the scent of shampoo from her damp hair...Jamie's deep voice belting out the words as he takes my hand...Jordan casually tapping his fingers on the pew as he sings...
Tears form in my eyes every time, and I instinctively push them away...seems silly....why would I cry at something so beautiful?
It's because I have missed it.
I felt at home. At peace. We all did.
The pastor delivers a message that makes everyone think a little bit harder about life...being a good person...trying your best...overcoming obstacles...and finding peace in every situation.
It fills me up. Sneaking peeks at the kids, I see they are listening...and it's sinking in.
Favorite quote of the day...
Sometimes God calms the storms in our lives... and sometimes he just rides them with us.
Love it. I couldn't imagine a more powerful, meaningful message for my kids to hold on to as they learn to cope with everything life brings. It's empowering for everyone. :)
Rewind to tonight at dinner...we are doing "Best And Worst"...in which each person shares both the Best and Worst moments or events of the day.
Jordan...my teenager, so full of being cool, mature, confident, blah blah blah...says his Worst was when he missed the diving catch in today's game.
And what was your Best, Jordan?
"its a tie....between singing in church and my confirmation class today. Both were really cool."
I can't wait to go back next week.